OWNER OF MISSISSIPPI RIVER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATING THE CLEAN AIR ACT
Franklin A. (“Al”) Bieri, 52,of O’Fallon, IL, pled guilty on October 5, 2011, to violating The Clean Air Act in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. The charges stem from Bieri’s activities at the Emerson Electric Facility, a seven acre site in Washington Park, that Bieri purchased in order to demolish and salvage the buildings on the site. Bieri knew that the buildings on the site contained asbestos, but, in April, 2010, he used untrained workers who failed to use proper removal and disposal procedures, such as wetting asbestos to limit airborne emissions and proper labeling of asbestos waste to alert others to the danger and ensure the waste went to an appropriate section of the landfill. Bieri admitted that he failed to provide written notification to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency at least 10 working days prior to beginning asbestos stripping and removal work, an offense punishable under the Clean Air Act.
“The safety of workers and the public is something I take very seriously. I encourage anyone with information about illegal asbestos removal to contact the EPA or my office so that these dangerous violators are stopped and prosecuted,” said United States Attorney Wigginton. Asbestos is a declared hazardous air pollutant by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Bieri faces a penalty of up to 5 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000.00, or both, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. Sentencing is scheduled for January 13, 2012.
The guilty plea follows an investigation by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin F. Burke.